Judges 11:14, 15: Jephthah Answers Ammon, Part 1

Verse 14:[1] And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon…


Verse 15:[2] And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, (Deut. 2:9, 19) Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon…


[These things saith Jephthah] He painstakingly clears himself from the infamy of unjust war, as it befits a good Prince (Grotius).


[He took not away the land of Moab, nor…of Ammon, etc.] The first point of the defense is denial, which he confirms from the matters conducted, and that this matter pertained to the Israelites, not with the Ammonites, but only with the Edomites and the Moabites, Deuteronomy 2:18 (Malvenda out of Junius). He took not away the land, etc., that is, which the Moabites and Ammonites were actually possessing at that time (for God had forbidden this to them); but that only which by war, whether just or unjust (for this matter is uncertain and doubtful), Sihon, King of the Amorites, occupied, did the Hebrews, with him overthrown, occupy by the commandment of God (Lapide). What the Amorites by military might had seized from the others, by the law of nations came to belong to those that had defeated the Amorite; which is here indicated: see also 1 Samuel 30:20. That the Greeks and Romans did not feel differently, we show in Concerning the Law of War and Peace 3:6:7 (Grotius). But it is able to be replied that this was taken unjustly by Sihon (which is even probable), and that the Israelite is able to have no more right than Sihon himself had (Bonfrerius). Therefore, this reason alone was not satisfying to the King of Amon: hence he subjoins others (Lapide, Bonfrerius); namely, the donation of God, and the prescription, etc. (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיּ֥וֹסֶף ע֖וֹד יִפְתָּ֑ח וַיִּשְׁלַח֙ מַלְאָכִ֔ים אֶל־מֶ֖לֶךְ בְּנֵ֥י עַמּֽוֹן׃


[2] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ כֹּ֖ה אָמַ֣ר יִפְתָּ֑ח לֹֽא־לָקַ֤ח יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ מוֹאָ֔ב וְאֶת־אֶ֖רֶץ בְּנֵ֥י עַמּֽוֹן׃

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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